17 Weeks Pregnant
Decisions, decisions. Now that you’re 17 weeks pregnant, start making firm plans, like whether or not you’re going to find out baby’s sex via ultrasound (if you didn’t already through first trimester prenatal testing), and what kind of childbirth class you’d like to take. As you start making these decisions, the pregnancy will feel even more real, which is super exciting, but part of you is probably feeling a little anxious, too. After all, you’re at week 17 of your pregnancy; that’s almost halfway through, and there’s so much to do, it can be overwhelming. Our best advice? Don’t try to do it all yourself—ask for help. And whatever doesn’t get done? You’ll find it’s not that important anyhow.
A baby at pregnancy week 17 is the size of a pomegranate. Your 17-week fetus is about 5.1 inches long and weighs about 5.9 ounces.
At 17 weeks pregnant, you're four months pregnant. But here's the catch: Pregnancy is technically longer than nine months—it's 40 weeks long, and if you assign four weeks to a month, that's 10 months long. Of course, some months have slightly more than four weeks. It can all get a little confusing, which is why doctors track pregnancy by week, not month.
When you’re 17 weeks pregnant, symptoms are most commonly due to your rapidly growing baby. Here’s what you’re likely feeling this week:
- Increased bodily fluids. Vaginal discharge, sweat, mucus and other fluids are in full force because of your increased blood flow.
- Weird dreams. You gave birth to a chipmunk? Married your boss? Having strange dreams might be caused by your hormones, but it might also be the result of your nerves and anticipation.
- Itchy boobs and belly. As baby is growing, your skin is stretching thinner and can be more sensitive. Resist the urge to scratch, and find a soothing skin cream that eases the itch.
- More rapid weight gain. You may have gained about 5 to 10 pounds by now. It’s normal to gain about 1 to 2 pounds per week in the second trimester. Sudden or excessive weight gain could be a sign of a problem though, so talk to your OB if it’s higher than that.
- Stretch marks. As you’re putting on some pounds and your uterus continues to expand, getting some stretch marks might be inevitable (especially if you’re 17 weeks pregnant with twins!). It’s different for every woman. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and use a good quality moisturizer to try to combat them.
Baby is working on getting stronger, and your 17 weeks pregnant body is working on getting bigger—about 1 to 2 pounds bigger per week. (Weight gain should be about the same if you’re 17 weeks pregnant with twins.) Make sure you document your growing 17 weeks pregnant belly by taking lots of photos. We promise: One day you’re going to look back and reminisce about this time. You’ll want to have a keepsake of how your body changed.
Can I feel baby at 17 weeks?
Those first exciting kicks you may be feeling at week 17 have a name: the quickening. Those sensations are wonderful, but don’t be worried if you haven’t felt them yet (especially if this is your first pregnancy). It’s different for every woman, but baby’s first movements are typically felt any time between 16 and 22 weeks.
Can I lie on my stomach at 17 weeks pregnant?
It’s time to find a new position for sleeping. When you’re on your back, your growing baby and uterus put pressure on a big blood vessel, the inferior vena cava. This can interfere with blood flow to baby, and it can lower your blood pressure. It’s best for your 17 week baby bump to start sleeping on your left side for optimal blood flow. (Really, any position other than flat on your back is fine, if you are a back-sleeper, tuck a pillow under one hip to tilt your belly to the side)
Baby's rubbery cartilage is now turning to bone. And baby is growing some meat on those bones, putting on some fat. Your 17-week fetus is growing a stronger, thicker umbilical cord too.
You may have a 17 weeks pregnant ultrasound if you’ve opted to have a cordocentesis. In this procedure, umbilical cord blood is tested for signs of chromosomal abnormalities. The doctor uses an ultrasound to find the place where the cord meets the placenta—that’s the spot where they need to remove the blood. Typically, this diagnostic test is performed after 17 weeks; it may be used if amniocentesis results were inconclusive and you and your partner want a more definitive answer about baby’s health.
What is baby doing at 17 weeks in the womb?
Even if you can’t feel it yet, baby is moving around your uterus. A 17-week fetus also has a sucking reflex and their heart is pumping blood. Around this time, baby develops the vernix, a slick, white substance that forms a barrier for the skin to protect it from the amniotic fluid.
Take cold showers
Look, pregnancy is hard work, so it’s natural to have extra perspiration. Try cooling down in the morning with a colder shower than you may be used to. Bonus: Cold showers may help relieve aches and pains and boost your blood circulation.
Stop the itch
Don’t let itchy skin drive you crazy. Soothe your 17 weeks pregnant belly with aloe vera gel to lock in moisture. For double the hydration, combine some aloe vera gel with a moisturizer that has vitamin E or cocoa butter to really nourish your skin.
Practice portion control
You’re eating for two, but don’t go overboard—you should consume 2,200 calories per day to nourish you and baby at 17 weeks. Focus on eating small meals made up mainly of lean protein, produce, whole grains and heart-healthy fats.
Wear the right underwear
Vaginal discharge isn’t fun, but it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Wear breathable cotton underwear to stay cool and dry. If you need extra protection, try an unscented pantiliner.
Reminders for the week:
Medical content was reviewed Novemember 2020 by Patricia Pollio, MD, a New York-based ob-gyn and director of the department of obstetrics & gynecology at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York.